Power Struggle In Relationship That Comes To An Impasse

Pluto dark backgroundHave you ever been involved in a power struggle in a relationship that eventually came to an impasse?

What happened?ย  Did the relationship die or quit?ย  Did someone cave?

If someone caved, did they resent it later? Or did the relationship go on to heal and thrive?

Do you have ways of resolving a deadlock situation like this?

41 thoughts on “Power Struggle In Relationship That Comes To An Impasse”

  1. i’d say my only real relationship sort of resulted in this… or maybe some sort of variation……. it was just a matter of mutual agreement to part ways……. tired of always feeling threatened by each other… i sort of quit. was too young with too much pressure, but you could say it sort of died i guess, because ultimately it was mutual. but, he wanted it more than i did………. he resented the hell out of me for YEARS

  2. Hi Elsa,
    Yes, it happened all through my 6 year marriage which ended 11 years ago and it still rankles every now and then. The biggest struggle, and the most painful was during my years working in the corporate world (where I had worked so hard to finally make something of myself when I walked out of my marriage). It was a struggle with my boss, the VP of the company (in composite we had mars and pluto in the 12th house). He a Scorpio rising and I have a first house Pluto. It got too much for me, so much so, that I resigned. That was almost three years ago now and it still hurts, I am still bitter and I am trying my best to start my career all over again. I truly would wish him into hell if I ever met him again.
    Part of me has never forgiven myself for crumbling and walking away like an open wound, but it was either that or lose all dignity and sanity.


  3. Have you ever been involved in a power struggle in a relationship that eventually came to an impasse?


    What happened? Did the relationship die or quit? Did someone cave?

    The person became very manipulative and I had no boundaries, so I was fucked up pretty bad. So I quit the relationship.

    If someone caved, did they resent it later? Or did the relationship go on to heal and thrive?

    No, this relationship is completely dead. He still tries to resurrect it all the time and it’s a huge pain in the ass.

    Do you have ways of resolving a deadlock situation like this?

    I don’t know. Not really! Just create energy shields against this person and avoid him at all costs.

  4. Ahem.

    File for divorce.

    Although I was thinking about the theme of being “jacked up in love” and I think I am drawn to these situations even though they cause me intense pain. I’ll think to myself — I am *not* fighting about this, I *will* be flexible and let my tsquare be totally mutable, I will *not* make this an issue….but for some reason that same issue will start to put pressure on the relationship until we’re back in the war.

    Power struggle in relationship is something that happens I think when you get involved with people whom you haven’t worked out a very good contract with to begin with. For example, easy one: ” You *said* you wanted a traditional domestic marriage with a white picket fence and magnets on the fridge, and *now* you don’t want kids? You *said* you wanted kids, I got pregnant and now you live on the road!!!


  5. I have an older sister whom I haven’t spoken with since 1985… She butted into my divorce and sided with my ex-husband. Together they tried to take my kids away. They convinced the judge that I was unstable and he ordered a complete psychological evaluation which was a nine month process. In the end they had to eat shit b/c I was found to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from that which they accused me of… I was only 22 at the time. I have absolutely no desire to have my sister in my life since then. We’ve been forced into the same room since, but she largely pretends that I’m not there and I return the courtesy. I know it tears my mom up, but I thought sisters were supposed to support each other. She’s never supported, only stuck knives in my back every single chance she ever had.

  6. Yep. It happened with my ex-fiance. He waited until the date was set, the venue chosen and the dress bought to slide the prenup in front of me. He had never mentioned it in the year we had been engaged. It kept all assets separate forever, no joint anything. I wouldn’t sign it, and he wouldn’t marry me unless I did. I took the dress back and canceled everything else, including him. This was about a month ago and I’m still furious. Hopefully my Mars return in a couple of days will help me get it out of my system and start afresh.

  7. @Del- That’s a really painful thing to go through, but it’s better you had such a large red flag before the wedding, rather than after the knot was tied… I’m sorry for the hurt he’s caused you. Picture him on the floor or the bottoms of your shoes and stomp him flat until you feel better. I’ve done this and it helps… I hope you get him out of your system soon…

  8. I spent ten years married to a power struggle. He’d relent, give in and then resent me in a flurry of nasty commentary and cold shoulders. All very passive-aggressive of an Aries male.

    As you know, I finally took the power back and got divorced. Took him a year to stop playing mental games with me (prolly would’ve taken less time had I not succumbed to my Pisces need for closure and wanting him to not hurt so badly over the mess that was our marriage), but after I got involved with and married to someone else, he stopped.

  9. We get it pretty bad sometimes when ration pits against emotions.

    He’s right, Saturn conj. Jupiter in Libra. He’s always right. But fuck right. Thats my Saturn conj. Mars in Scorpio and a heavy dose of Aquarius.

    Saturn in Libra favors right for the sake of the relationship atm. Besides, I’m awash in a sea of Neptune on the DC, so who even knows what my emotions mean anyway?

    I resent it often, but I realize none of this is probably anything personal to do with me or him. All that Neptune gives me an out via transcendence! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Read_em, that’s awful. When I read something like this I’m always thinking wtf would possess a person to do something like that? I was going to ask you did she *say* what possible reason she would have to decide to ally with your ex and deprive you of your kids? There’s no excuse but I still wanna know *why*.

    What crossed my mind was this idea I have about women in families. Sometimes people get it into their heads that any dramatic moment or event is an opportunity to suck the attention away from the event and focus it on themselves. It’s a twisted form of thunder-stealing. Oh, look, there’s a drama, how do I get to star in it?

    Not saying that’s the situation but it’s a thought I had. Unbelievable, regardless.

  11. It can be uglier than that. My ex and I got into so many deadlocks. Being a Cap with Scorpio rising, I wanted to win. He was an Aries and wanted to win. It got so ugly that we ended up in fistfights, throwing each other around, and the last straw was when he tried to bite my ear off. I went OFF and attacked him with a ceramic soap dish. If the fighting hadn’t stopped, someone would have ended up dead, most likely him.

  12. Yes. Both Venus sq Pluto. We are no longer together and nothing has ever been resolved. Including the matter of our son. His idea of resolution is to run away for a while, then come back and act like everything is hunky-dory. Still trying to control me after the fact. Only resolution I can see is total amputation, frankly.

  13. Thanks, y’all. Of course, he’s turned it all back on me. I must be a golddigging bitch if I wouldn’t sign such a sensible document! I know I need to do some forgiveness work on this, but I’m not quite ready yet. Mars is going into Scorpio – might be a good weekend for a revenge fling. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. “What crossed my mind was this idea I have about women in families. Sometimes people get it into their heads that any dramatic moment or event is an opportunity to suck the attention away from the event and focus it on themselves. Itโ€™s a twisted form of thunder-stealing. Oh, look, thereโ€™s a drama, how do I get to star in it?”

    @eva- She’s a Saggie Sun, Aqua Moon, and Scorp Rising… I’m 5 years 5 months younger than her and she was always very jealous and controlling during our growing up years… She was even jealous if I spent any time with our two brothers. She always treated me as if I was mentally deficient even though I test out in the top 1% for IQ… (she doesn’t) I never rubbed it in her face and always tried to be supportive of her. But she flipped out when I told her I was divorcing my ex. He was becoming very violent with me and I was fearful he’d beat me to death… He was/is an Aries with an Aqua Moon and Cap Rising.. To this day, I don’t know why. I may never know what motivated her to try to destroy me. It’s a betrayal that may be from a past life with her, who can know? Sorry I can’t give you a better answer…

  15. Sigh, abuse and betrayal. That’s amazing, Read_em.

    I get really upset over my dramas because I think they’re the worst thing I ever heard. But then I read this stuff and I really am shocked, because I think there must be something spectacularly betrayal and disappoint-prone about myself. But maybe not, maybe people just suck.


  16. ((((hugs all around)))!

    Boy, am I glad that my hubby and I haven’t had any major power struggles. Me being a Ram and him being a Bull, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be pretty.

  17. Has anyone resolved something like this? This came to mind because I have a client in this predicament and I advised her on a course of action to break the impasse and feel she as a 50% chance of success.

    I realize that each situation is unique but I am wondering if any of you play cards aka come up with some kind of strategy. Do you, or do you just go head to head?

  18. Impasse, power struggle. This is the story of my relationship with The Man, over the last 23 years – and we are currently at yet another impasse. This characteristic of our relationship is flagged up very strongly in any possible synastry chart I’ve pulled up.

    It’s also in his/our chart that although there is very powerful attraction and emotion there, and a lot else positive there besides (inc Moon conjunct Venus), he isn’t sure what to do when he has got me – he’s a ‘hunter’.

    It’s almost as though he provokes these confrontations – he pushes me away so then he can woo and win me again. It was tremendously hard to deal with for the first phase of our sexual relationship (over say six years) – I finished it several times but he always came back. Said he always would, no matter what… and I should trust that. for a while all would be well… But as soon as things were easy for him again, he’d start pushing. Everything has to be on his terms – and not just with me, he’s been like that with all the women in his life. I was always convinced I lasted because I always pushed back. Hard!

    I finished it because he went too far with one of the fly by night girls who moved into his place ‘between flats’ and inevitably got into his bed… So I was shut out. He still can’t see why that was unacceptable!

    Two years later he found where I was in the country and after a bit of shilly shallying over a few weeks I agreed he could come for the weekend. I’d not had a lover in between and had missed him dreadfully… He managed to thoroughly upset me over the weekend by his selfish behaviour, and next time I went up to town I then finished it ‘for good’.

    Sulk, punish – you bet: he glared daggers at me for years, and refused to talk to me. *Nobody* treated His Leonine Highness like that!

    This time round (after a 13 year gap, and again no lover in between) I adopted a conscious strategy of letting it all go and just enjoying what I had. No questions, no pushing – if I did push, eg for more ‘keeping in touch’ – he’d get exasperated and bang on about his impossible work schedule (which is indeed excessivbe as many things have come together after years of preliminary work). … Our meetings, though rare, have been wonderful. But then he started ‘pushing’ me and it was over something on which I had to make a stand: access to his house, his territory. I mean, there may be good reasons why suddenly it’s never convenient – and he hates, really hates and won’t have, other people around when he’s in an amorous situation. But I can’t be blamed for finding the ‘exclusion’ unacceptable, and suspecting he’s just doing it to show the whip hand.

    We have truly loved each other, however unlikely that might seem in normal (ie other people’s) terms – but he with Leo sun / Leo stellium, and a huge amount of other stubbornness in his chart, and myself with Cap sun / Cap stellium and Taurus Moon: well, stubborness and a lot of pride, that’s the story.

    So the long and short – yes you can employ strategies but someone is determined to take power in the relationship, you just end of constantly giving ground until you have no power at all. That’s the problem: wherever you ‘draw the line’ they will want to push you back over it, just to prove they can. How far you’re prepared to allow that, depends on the value you set on the relationship, and where your ‘self-respect’ or essential sense of self is challenged.

    I’m very tolerant but won’t be pushed past a certain point. I think finally you always come head to head unless one party gives in and takes the subordinate role. It’s very exhausting going head to head on a regular basis, and I’d say impossible to live with.

  19. Another example: My own marriage failed when my husband, who’d let me have my own way pretty much uncontested for several years (that was the deal!) suddenly when we moved to a foreign country, started to try to take charge, and would almost perversely make decisions against my wishes.

    I dealt with that for a while by negotiating – I’d concede on that if he wouldn’t try to take over that etc, but in the end our relationship wasn’t strong enough to survive the constant battles. They weren’t very big ones until we got the chance to buy a house for peanuts which I’d fallen in love with, and he dredged up every possible reason not to buy it. Then someone gave me a horse, and refused to let me accept it (refused to strengthen the fencing etc). Refused to have certain people round, refused to go out to eat – there was way too much refusal going on. Our sex life dwindled to nothing… Impasse. End.

  20. When I’m at an impasse – the immovable force vs. the irresistible force – I figure I might as well solve it by moving. Away. And the other party is left feeling less irresistible.

  21. Okay, the only resolution I know of is this. Give in. Granted, I have a lot of mutable, and my power struggles/impasse with my Scorpio/Leo inflexible guy are still very painful to me. But not as painful as continuing the fight! So, yeah, I give in, accommodate, and define myself in other ways… (Er, we do love each other, and I suppose that makes all the difference in the world. But no way will he cooperate or meet me half way on a lot of painful issues, and I just recognize that that’s the way he truly feels has to be – his very identity gets threatened. I, on the other hand, have a more flexible way of being ME, and don’t need to win or control for that – not that it’s easy!)

  22. Avatar
    Strawberry Fields

    Has anyone resolved something like this? This came to mind because I have a client in this predicament and I advised her on a course of action to break the impasse and feel she as a 50% chance of success.

    I’d love to hear your suggestion because impasses are a huge and recurring issue for me. I’m out of options / strategies to try.

  23. @Blessed Place- Wow, you have the patience of a Saint! I’ve lived with that kind of mind game before, and I totally agree that it’s damn exhausting!

    I guess it all depends on ‘if you think it’s worth it’:

    If you think the issue (impass) is worth fighting for.

    That maintaining the relationship is ‘worth’ more verses the issue.

    And who got the ‘free pass’ over the previous ‘impasse’?

  24. *snort* The Ex.
    Me: Mars-Venus-Pluto conjunct and planets in all the fixed signs in all the fixed houses.
    Him: Mars-Uranus-Venus in Scorp, and sun-Merc-Pluto.
    The saving grace? We both had significant Libra. *smiles*

    I cannot tell you how many times it was fight, fight, fight, fight, fight over the same damned thing for a week or more. Get riled up, cool off, snuggle in bed, get back up in the morning and “yell” some more. (Yell in quotations because I can actually count on one hand the number of times we raised voices.)

    Eventually, we either worked out a mutual agreement or one of us caved. I can credit that relationship with teaching me a lot about what’s actually worth fighting for, though.

    Obviously the relationship faltered, though, or he wouldn’t be an ex. I think a large part of that was neither of us would budge on an extremely important issue; that and his repressed-ness. (Did I mention his M-Ur-V conjunction is in the 12th? And his Saturn-moon conjunction? *grins*) It lasted for eight years however, so I must know a little something about resolving power struggles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Elsa, I wonder if Eastern martial strategy/philosophy would provide some insight into the value of concession? Maybe Nota would know. Not knowing specifics, my instinct is that I would cave in order to preserve the relationship. Possibly consoling myself that my Mercury-Pluto would exact a sneak-attack revenge if it turned out caving was the wrong choice. But I wouldn’t resent caving, depending on the issue. I have Libra and don’t know if this lady does. I just have this feeling there might be an Eastern philosophy on strength in surrender, and I am not educated in the field enough to know. I haven’t been able to Google it accurately, but I am now laughing because this:

    Hide a knife behind a smile (็ฌ‘่ฃ่—ๅˆ€๏ผ็ฌ‘้‡Œ่—ๅˆ€, Xiร o lว cรกng dฤo)
    Charm and ingratiate yourself to your enemy. When you have gained his trust, move against him in secret.

    sounds like my strategy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The reason I think caving is a good strategy is due to my belief that an impasse in a relationship is a situation of temporary perspective. Therefore, if she caves, she has a good chance of not regretting it later, due to her perspective change. Also, the goodwill gained by caving may change the attitude and position of the person holding out. Also, being a power-oriented person, I believe being the first person to cave confers power because you are seen as more generous/reasonable. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you find a good solution for her.

  26. I’m assuming that counseling isn’t an option or wished for and that there IS a wish to preserve the relationship? If so, pay a mediator. I know that sounds strange and close to counseling but they’re paid to help you negotiate difficult situations. What may come of it is a discovery that they don’t wish to preserve the relationship, or that the issue is representative of something else. I don’t know. However, it might be a “good alternative” if it’s a business relationship or more personal relationship – not as “touchy feely” as a counselor and yet could bring some resolution.

    What I do know is that I’ve had a few relationships go on hiatus due to a power struggle and only time and space can heal some of those things. I guess I approach relationships trying to give my best and try to be very clear about my needs (even though they change over time) and so when I ask for what I need, I’ve already given quite a bit in exhcange so I guess more often than not the power struggle isn’t that much of a struggle – it’s all of a trade off over time and I see the balance over the longer haul/bigger picture. There have been situations where I’ve walked. Sadly, time and energy invested will just be thrown away at some point.

  27. Carrie yes I do have saintly patience with The Man, because I truly love him and to a large extent I understand him. And since I’ve been studying our relationship in terms of our chart, I have a much deeper knowledge of the strengths of our attraction AND of the elements in his chart which makes him so often ’emotionally absent’, so demanding of his absolute freedom, and so unable to understand the first thing about my emotional nature (or indeed women’s in general, despite his long and busy ‘history’ in that regard!)

    I’m also patient – I esp was in the early stages – because of the age gap. I truly love him not just because he is very special (and he is) but because of all that has gone between us; but I still can’t fathom quite what forces him always to come after me… I mean the sex is very powerful, like a drug to us both – but I can’t believe he’s not been able to find that elsewhere (he can famously charm almost any woman into bed – they throw themselves at him). Possibly it’s something karmic. It’s very hard indeed to resist.

    Our synastry chart so far as I can draw it, shows Moon square Pluto – from the Astrodienst commentary:
    “Ego forces run high between you, because something about your interaction makes you constantly challenge each other. ”

    I’m now 64 and apart from being a little overweight I’ve always had a handicap – which a lot of men find offputting. It’s something only a special kind of man can ignore, and has always narrowed my options – not so much when younger as I was very attractive, with a great body… but now, it’s bound to be a factor. So I’m also reluctant to give up on The Man, not just because of the long investment and my absolute passion for him, but because I’m pretty sure I’ll never take another lover. I’m way past casual liaisons and ‘for the sake of it’ sex. And anyway, it’s twenty years since I made love with anyone but the Man …

  28. With ref to a few posts above, I think caving is often the only option for the woman in this kind of power struggle, since men find it very difficult to be subordinate in a relationship,m esp if they come form a macho culture (S America, Mediterranean Europe, Middle East etc). And I agree, the woman can make this a gift, as I’ve done over so long…

    The problem is that then the line at which you cave gets pushed further and further into your relationship. If a man is like that, and esp if he has a lot of eg Leo in his chart, it’s impossible to avoid this kind of conflict. What a man like that needs is a submissive woman (which is why so many get mail order brides from Asia, who can hardly speak English, Dutch or whatever).

    What my marriage showed though, is that even men who appear happy with allowing their wife or partner most of the power in a relationship and enter into it on that understanding, can over time find that impossible to sustain!

  29. Thinking again about caving – possibly the best way to handle this if you are living with someone, is to agree areas of power – eg the ex and I agreed I was in charge of decor and domestic stuff, he was in charge of anything to do with the car and the garden. I think we would have managed to sort our conflicts via this kind of negotiation if we’d had the bonding glue of a good sexual relationship, but we didn’t :^(

  30. PS I have Mars in Cancer (poss in the first), in opposition to my Sun, conjunct my Saturn and square my Jupiter. Any point fighting?

    The Man has Mars In Pisces square his Venus in Gemini (poss in the 8th), and its trine his Saturn and quincunx his ascendant

    My ex husband (Aquarius Sun and Cap Moon) had Mars in Aries – he joined the Royal Navy at 17 – and Venus in Pisces

  31. My husband also had his Aqua Sun square Uranus – apparently means he would always have to rebel and throw down a challenge to *any* authority – that’s definitely true and got him into all sorts of bother in the navy and out. Maybe also meant he had to challenge me?

    He also had Mars square Pluto ‘very strong self-assertive energies’ so I suppose they had to erupt at some point, when the first flush of his passion for me wore off! I was probably lucky it lasted five years…

  32. I have my Sun, Venus and Mars in Scorpio. Aries asc. Libra moon. I was seeing a guy with a Sag Sun, Venus and Mars in Scorpio and a Taurus moon. It was perfect. Everything perfect. Except. I had briefly dated (casually, I was never his girlfriend) a friend of his last year. Haven’t spoken to him in nine months. The Sag has been on the fence with continuing the relationship, because he fears that it will cause a friendship ending rift with his friend. He’s afraid to even have the conversation. Never mind the fact that his friend has long since moved on and has a girlfriend. I gave him some time to sort it out, and was still seeing him. Finally, I said I can’t do this…figure it out, talk to him, you know where to find me when you do. He understood totally how I felt, told me that he wanted to continue to see me but was just torn. That was two weeks ago. I’d call that an impasse.

  33. Thanks!
    I just don’t know what to do. I never fall this hard and it’s completely doing my head in. I’m divorced after a 10 year marriage and this is the first guy I’ve dated since the divorce that I can actually see myself with. The only guy that ive even considered seriously enough to think about introducing to my kids, which is why it’s so frustrating. Ugh.

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